The sociology of unemployment, edited by Tom Boland and Ray Griffin.

Purchase here.

The sociology of unemployment

Published in 2015, this edited book explores unemployment from a variety of sociological perspectives to shed light on an issue of pressing concern to both our economy and our society. Each chapter takes a different approach, commenting on everything from the subjective qualitative experience of unemployment, to the reporting of unemployment in the media, and how the breadth and depth of unemployment is transformed into a single number for statistics, metrics, and policy.

The reformation of welfare: the new faith of the labour market, by Tom Boland and Ray Griffin.

Purchase here.

The Reformation of Welfare

Published in 2021, this book adopts an economic theology perspective to examine how it is faith – rather than economic ideas like calculability that make the labour market work. The central point made in the book is that welfare is inseparably connected to a centuries long project that has its origins in theology to reform people. This is not universal or contingent. Not all philosophies or world views believe that people can be changed or altered, but embedded within the very conceptual framework of modern welfare is the idea that we can (and must) transform ourselves for the labour market. In this reading, work is prayer, unemployment is a purgatory, jobseeking is a pilgrimage, and the labour market is a church.

The authors came to the Economy & Society Summer School in 2021 to discuss their work, read about it here or watch the video below.

Journal Articles

The Death of Unemployment and the Birth of Jobseeking: Governing a Liminal Experience. Tom Boland & Ray Griffin. DOI:

Seeking a role: disciplining jobseekers as actors in the labour market. Tom Boland. DOI:

Making sacrifices: how ungenerous gifts constitute jobseekers as scapegoats. Tom Boland & Ray Griffin. DOI:

The purgatorial ethic and the spirit of welfare. Tom Boland & Ray Griffin. DOI:

Nothingness and Time: Exploring the temporal governmentality of unemployment. Tom Boland & Ray Griffin. DOI:

Avowing Unemployment: Confessional Jobseeker Interviews and Professional CVs. Tom Boland. DOI:

Jobseeking as pilgrimage: trials of faith in the labour market. Tom Boland. DOI:

Making sacrifices: how ungenerous gifts constitute jobseekers as scapegoats. Tom Boland & Ray Griffin. DOI:

News and Media

In addition to academic engagement, WUERC has always prioritised getting our message out to the public. Find examples of our engagement with policy makers and news media below.


16/11/2020 Irish Examiner: Budget and capital spending

11/9/2020 WLRfm: WIT@50

10/8/2020 WLRfm: Covid Impacts

30/6/2020 Irish Examiner: Programme for Government

9/5/2020 Wexford People: Covid impacts

27/4/2020 South East Radio: Covic impacts


31/7/2019 Irish Times: Higher Education

11/6/2019 Irish Examiner: Waterford Airport

22/4/2019 Irish Times: Higher Education

13/4/2019 Dungarvan Observer: Waterford Airport

19/1/2019 Irish Times: Healthcare


9/8/2018 Irish Examiner: Waterford Airport

1/05/2018 KCLR: SE University Issue

2/05/2018 South East Radio: university issue

2/3/2018 Munster Express: WIT is Operating at University Level

31/1/2018 Seanad Éireann debate on Technological University Bill

11/01/2018 Munster Express: South East’s 9.2 per cent IDA jobs boost is “stunning”


23/11/2017 Dáil Éireann Question on SE Job Quality

15/11/2017 WLRfm News: South East facing a stampede of youth out of the region

14/11/2017 Oireachtas Committee on Business, Enterprise and Innovation: Opening statement by SENSOR

26/9/2017 WLRfm News: Benefits of TU are unclear

22/07/2017 Irish Times:  Waterford stays optimistic after years of neglect

13/07/2017 Munster Express: There’s no policy appetite to address regional weaknesses

6/7/2017 Carlow Nationalist: Carlow let down by IDA

05/07/2017 Seanad Éireann debate Unemployment Data

03/07/2017 RTE Radio 1 Drivetime: South East Monitor 2017

03/07/2017 SE Radio News: SE in economic decline

16/03/2017 Kilkenny County Council Presentation to SPC


08/12/2016 Dáil Éireann Question on SE Economic Monitor   

17/08/2016 South East Radio: Interview with Karl Fitzpatrick

30/06/2016 Seanad Éireann debate on sustainable employment

22/06/2016 Dáil Debate Motion on SE unemployment

18/6/2016 Wexford People: Damning report on region’s economy

10/06/2016 Irish Examiner: Unemployment at ‘crisis’ point across South-East

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